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Rains, S
Irish University Review
'Nauseous Tides of Seductive Debauchery': Irish Story Papers and the Anti-Vice Campaigns of the Early Twentieth Century
2 ()
Optional Fields
This essay explores the relationship between anti-vice campaigns and the popular publishing industry of early-twentieth century Ireland. Specifically, it argues that there existed an informal but strongly symbiotic relationship between the two. The Irish anti-vice campaigns emphasised their objections to imported 'pernicious literature' in the form of British newspapers and story papers, thus allying themselves with both religious and nationalist movements of the time in Ireland. The Irish popular press, especially the story papers in direct and unequal competition with their large-scale British equivalents such as the Boys Own Paper, were able to use these moral attacks upon their competitors to position themselves as alternative leisure reading which was both wholesome and patriotic. This essay examines the ways in which Irish story papers such as the Emerald and Ireland's Own were able to use social purity rhetoric as a marketing technique against their British competitors. This occurred even though, as the essay outlines, in many cases the content of their stories was equally sensationalist and also had a strong emphasis upon violence, lurid plotlines and sometimes even sexually-suggestive advertising. Despite this, the anti-vice campaigns reserved their condemnations almost entirely for British publications, thus maintaining a co-operation with Irish publications which benefitted both parties.
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